Dan Guyer Makes a Difference for Students and Stakeholders

You are here

April 28, 2023

Michigan State University’s (MSU) Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (BAE) focuses on students and stakeholders at the program's core. Faculty are a key element to this success, and Dan Guyer, BAE Professor Emeritus (as of 1/1/2023 after 34 years), was a strong contributor in student and stakeholder engagement during his tenure at BAE. 

BAE Department Chair Bradley Marks comments that “Dr. Guyer, a Spartan through-and-through, has always been a devoted servant of our stakeholders, with a focus on directly engaging with the specialty crops industry and long-term exemplary service as a faculty advisor to senior capstone design teams and the Biosystems Engineering student club.”  

Guyer grew up in East Lansing and spent lots of time on campus, where his father, Gordon Guyer, Ph.D., held multiple positions at MSU. Guyer eventually came to MSU, a one-mile trip down the road, to complete his undergraduate degree after working summers in the MSU-Wheat Program. His passion for farming, agriculture, machinery, and engineering led Clarence Hansen, MSU Ag. Engineering Faculty Member, to encourage Guyer to pursue agricultural engineering. 

It is in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering that Guyer found his calling. After graduating with his bachelor's in Agricultural Engineering focused on power and machinery, he completed his master’s and doctoral degrees at Purdue University with focus in machine vision applied to agriculture. After that, Guyer had the fortunate opportunity to return to MSU, where he was hired as the post-harvest fruit and vegetable extension research engineer in January 1989. 

Guyer’s passion for helping students and stakeholders has been at the core of his work at MSU. He was the student club advisor for over twenty years, in addition to his extension and research work. Guyer also was an advisor to the ¼-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition when that was first initiated. This competition was started by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) to give students practical knowledge of machine engineering. Then, when called upon to teach the instrumentation grad course BE 815, Guyer added that role and continued to impact students' lives in the classroom. 

Throughout his career at MSU, Guyer worked extensively with Senior Design teams. The senior design projects allowed Guyer to synergistically serve the stakeholders and students. A prime example is the senior design team in 2007 that revolutionized the efficiency of how the tart cherry industry cools cherries. The student group developed a new system and fabricated a prototype for the stakeholders. The industry went on to take this prototype and scale it up for production. Now, this method of cooling tart cherries is found in, among others, the operations of the largest producer of Michigan tart cherries. Guyer continues in retirement to advise the senior design teams and provide applied programming with the chestnut Dan Guyer and his two dogs in front of a cabinindustry. 

Guyer began working with the Michigan Chestnut Growers in 2001, where he began with post-harvest handling, sensing, and processing. He works extensively as part of MSU’s Endowed Rogers Reserve Facility for this research, where he is the facility faculty coordinator. Guyer is involved with many aspects of the chestnut industry, from plant propagation (tissue culture), harvest systems, post-harvest, to value-added processing such as flour and roasted chips for beer. The Rogers Reserve facility also has the only full-size chestnut peeling system in North America, processing chestnuts for Michigan growers. He additionally collaborates with the research and programming of other researchers working with chestnuts. 

Guyer has passed down his passion for MSU and even more specifically, BAE, to his children. Guyer's children, Hannah and Kyle, graduated from MSU with Biosystems Engineering degrees. Kyle focused on Food Engineering in his undergraduate studies and now works with MolsonCoors. Hannah focused on Water Resource Engineering as an undergraduate and completed her master’s at Iowa State. Hannah is a licensed Professional Engineer now working with Collective Water Resources, a female-led water resources consulting firm.

“It is my hope that through some of my pioneering work over my career in academia with machine vision-based sensing concept development applied in agriculture as well as on many diverse applied projects, that I have made a difference in stakeholder’s lives and/or operations; as that’s all that ever mattered to me as a person who has lived his entire life in the shadows and halls of outstanding Land-Grant institutions!” said Guyer “May I continue to provide such impacts long into the future and in doing so may the wind fill my sails, both figuratively and literally(!). Thank you to all of those that have helped and supported me in the past and will into the future.”